For the purposes of this article, as wealth is technically net worth and has nothing to do with income, I will be using per capita income. There are plenty of ways to decide the wealth and income of a city but in my eyes, per capita income is the truest form to judge income per city. When I was a pharmaceutical rep in Chicago, I had the pleasure of getting to know these places quite well and hope I can introduce them to the world! So without further adieu, here are the top 10 wealthiest Illinois suburbs of Chicago.
Median Family Income: $250,000+
Median Home Price: $1,000,000+
When it comes to the wealthy suburbs of Chicago, Kenilworth has to be at the top of everybody's list. Located on the North Shore of Lake Michigan, in January 2011, Forbes.com ranked Kenilworth as the second most affluent neighborhood in the United States, calling it "the most exclusive neighborhood in the Midwest...Even after the housing slump the average house in Kenilworth sells for about $1 million." For one of the wealthiest communities in the United States, Kenilworth has a surprisingly normal median age of just 42.4 years. The Kenilworth Club, a community center of sorts in the middle of the village, hosts town gatherings as well as local band concerts, whose performers have been coined the "North Shore Scene".
Median Family: $211,111
Median Home: $971,000
Another North Shore community that has a bit more fame than Kenilworth, Glencoe was where Ferris Bueller's Day Off was filmed and where Risky Business was set, although it was actually filmed in the Chicago suburb of Highland Park. With forest preserves secluding Glencoe to the North and West, this lake shore city boasts architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and access to some of the finest private schools in the area. In terms of wealthy Illinois suburbs, Glencoe gets no argument.
North Barrington, Illinois
Median Family: $154,474
Median Home: $523,000
Now it's time to step away from Cook County for a bit and look at the more rural based North Barrington. Houses here may be cheaper but their sizes are just as large. For many executives, living closer to their offices in the western suburbs of Chicago is a no brainer. Thus, the formation of North Barrington. With more open spaces and land, this community allows the freedom of Illinois country living in the confines of a well-established affluent area.
Lake Forest, Illinois
Median Family: $200,000+
Median Home: $680,000
If I was basing these rankings on more than just per capita income, Lake Forest would easily get my nod for both the most exclusive and elaborate suburbs in Illinois. As you drive into Lake Forest, another community in the North Shore of Chicago, you can't help but notice the intricate detail to the layout of the town. Even the train station looks like it came out of a magazine. If Marshall Field, the founder of Macy's, thinks it's a good place to live then who is to argue with the legend. Wealth is but second fiddle to the real charm of this town, though the homes aren't too shabby also.
Median Family: $200,000+
Median Home: $992,800
A city that CNN Money named the fourth highest earning town in America back in 2007 and Business Week listed among the top 15 richest zip codes, this "very Republican" Illinois suburb of Chicago is the home of Donald Rumsfeld and Jay Cutler. When it comes to living among the celebrities of Chicago, there is no better city to choose than Winnetka. Even Home Alone was filmed here!
Oak Brook, Illinois
Median Family: $152,209
Median Home: $837,100
Headquarters to what is probably the most recognizable brand in the world, McDonald's, Oak Brook is composed mostly of high-end residential homes, with the exception of the designer-store packed Oakbrook Center shopping mall. Located in the western Chicagoland county of DuPage, Oak Brook neighbors other exclusive villages like Hinsdale and Westchester (which did not make the Top 10 Wealthiest Illinois Suburbs of Chicago list), making the area a very populous and popular place. When it comes to wealthy suburbs in Chicago, Oak Brook must be mentioned.
South Barrington, Illinois
Median Family: $174,318
Median Home: $841,900
South Barrington is actually in all facets except for per capita income, a more affluent suburb than it's neighbor to the north, North Barrington. Almost half of all the households residing in this rural Illinois suburb of Chicago have children under the age of 18 living in them, bringing the average age to a low 42. The late Walter Payton, legendary Chicago Bears running back, called South Barrington home, making it just another Illinois suburb with highly notable residents.
Barrington Hills, Illinois
Median Family: $156,002
Median Home: $881,921
Keeping with the northwest suburbs, Barrington Hills shares proximity to North and South Barrington, however its' identity is etched in a tradition for horse farms and housing prominent horse racing and equestrian executives like Richard Duchossois, owner of the Arlington Park racetrack. This rural-suburban village has tough zoning restrictions, like 5-acre minimum builds, making it the perfect place for the outdoor lover wanting to live away from the busy lifestyle of Chicago. Listed as the 87th highest-income city in the United States in 2010 and with beautiful properties and a long tradition built around horse breeding, what's not to love about this Chicago suburban fortress.
Median Family: $154,646
Median Home: $688,266
The wealthy suburb of Inverness' public schools are actually managed by Barrington and Palatine school districts, making it another northwest suburb gracing this list. In a similar fashion to the Barrington township, Inverness welcomes residents who enjoy rural-suburban living but want to keep easy access to Chicago.
Median Family: $167,250
Median Home: $583,000
By far the least populated Chicago suburb on the list, the village of Golf was originally given to the Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi people in 1825 at the Treaty of Prairie du Chien before it was sold in 1830 to a non-indian. It's unique name came when prominent businessmen from Milwaukee and Chicago took the train to play its new 18-hole golf course and the conductor called the town "golf stop". Golf residents enjoy an array of association organized parties throughout the year and its North Shore site allows for easy access to Lake Michigan and the surrounding affluent neighborhoods of Winnetka and Highland Park.
As far as wealthy suburbs in Chicago go, there are plenty that didn't make the list. Where is the best place to live in Chicago? Try one of these cities if you can swing it. Check out some of these other similar articles.
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